Atlas Shrugged

I stop at the water fountain, giving the hallway enough time to fall into silence. I jump when the bell rings. I can do this. I stand tall, and I put one foot in front of the other.

“You’re late Miss Johnson.” Ms. Tuttle makes a tick on the attendance sheet as I walk through the door.

“Sorry, Ma’am.” I don’t try to make an excuse. She has stated a fact. It is correct. No need to draw more attention to myself.

As I turn to find a seat, I discover that James is indeed in my English class. He motions to an empty seat in front of him. He’s in the last row, and the idea of disappearing in the back of the class appeals to me today. I slouch into my seat, trying to blend in with the furniture, yearning to be invisible.

I feel James lean forward and subtly reach around me. He quietly slides my composition book off my desk. I hear him open it and write something, but I pretend not to notice. Instead, I watch Ms. Tuttle scribble the title Atlas Shrugged on the board.

“Does anyone know who Atlas is?” Ms. Tuttle throws out the question and scans the room for a response.

I feel James sliding my composition book back on my desk as a student in the front row begins to speak, “Wasn’t he like a Greek God or something? He holds the world on his shoulders.” The student lifts his copy of the book.

“OK.” Ms Tuttle turns back to the board, and I open my composition book as if to take notes.

“Celestial sphere,” James speaks up from behind me, “He’s a Titan and he holds the celestial sphere on his shoulders.”

Ms. Tuttle turns and looks at James. A pleasant smile spreads across her face. “Yes, exactly.” She turns to write on the board again.

I look down at my notebook and see a short note scribbled on the first empty page. Everything OK? If you need anything, call. — followed by his number and his first name printed in thin slanted letters.


One Comment on “Atlas Shrugged”

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